Sunday, 29 January 2012

Solomon: dog or cow?

If you don't know we have an adorable dog named Solomon.  Solomon is almost 8 years old and is part of our family. He is our American dog in England!!

We had a bit of a scare two weeks ago with Solomon.  Everything seemed well until Thursday evening he seemed a bit down and got sick after eating his dinner.  He didn't keep any food down on Friday so we took him to the vet Friday evening.  They thought he could have picked up a tummy bug which was causing him to be sick or perhaps he had a blockage of some sort.  Hoping for just a tummy bug (the easier and cheapier option) they gave Solomon a shot and some medicine to give him.  We were to give him a small amount of food on Saturday.  If it threw that up we would have to go back to the vet's straight away.

Nevertheless, 20 minutes after eating his breakfast Saturday morning Solomon got sick again.  We took him back to the vet's where they were going to keep him and take an x-ray of his body to see if there were any problems.  A few hours later they called back saying that the x-ray showed his stomach was full.  Knowning that it had been 48 hours since he had kept anything down this made no sense.  The end resulted in an operation to empty his stomach and find the problem.  It was a worrying few hours until the vet called.  Solomon was fine.  He had eaten some type of fabric which upset his stomach so much that he gorged himself on grass.  The fabric and grass compressed in his stomach.  He had eaten so much grass that it could have filled a football.  The vet's words were: "He isn't a dog.  He's a cow."

We were able to pick Solomon up from the vet's on Monday evening.  He felt very sorry for himself and would just lie on his bed and cry.  It did look painful as you can see below.

The concern after the surgery was infection.  Solomon was on several different medicines for the pain and to prevent infection.  He went to the vet on the Thursday of that week and then again on Tuesday this past week to get his stitches out.  Solomon has healed very well and almost back to himself now.  His stomach is looking much better and is back to begging for food and walks again.  It is glad to have him back to normal and hopefully we won't have to do this again.  It is also amazing how quickly his hair do grow...This was a week after his surgery.

Thanks for everyone who left us messages on facebook, asked about Solomon and even prayed for our boy.  He is very much part of the family and will be a sad day when he goes....luckily, we have awhile before that happens!!

Sunday, 15 January 2012

Health Update: Going Private

Last week we saw a private doctor (cardiologist) in Cambridge for a second opinion.  It was a good visit overall with good and bad news.  The benefit of going private for this opinion is that we knew a cardiologist would take the time to go through Matthew's test results and fully examine Matthew.  The downfall is you have to pay for it but for peace of mind it would be well worth it!

Anyways when we arrived they ran an EKG on Matthew.  On the NHS it took Matthew two months to get this done.  Then we got to meet with the doctor.  It was very helpful as he listened to Matthew, asked questions and examined him.  The doctor then went onto explain all the different tests Matthew has taken over the past few months and their results.  He came to the same diagnosis that Matthew had myocarditis following a flu from July that went and infected the area around the heart.  This was reassuring to hear just to know we have been on the right track.

The good news:
All the damage done to the heart has completely healed with little to no scarring. 

The bad news:
The electrical system of Matthew's heart hasn't quite fixed itself leaving Matthew with an irregular heartbeat.  The EKG showed Matthew was having more abnormal than normal heartbeats. 

The cure:
Again...there is none for this.  He is taking medicine and right now it is just finding the correct dosage to lessen the symptoms of the irregular heartbeat.  He was on a low dosage of the medicine which has now increased.  Best case is that the heart fixes itself and the irregular heartbeat goes away.  Worst case is that Matthew could be on medicine the rest of his life for the irregular heartbeat.

So even though it wasn't the cure all I was hoping for it was good news overall.  The damage done to the heart has healed itself.  Now we are just trying to get the correct dosage for Matthew to lessen the symptoms of the irregular heartbeat which in time will help him to feel better and function at 100%.  Matthew is still having good and bad days but we are finally having more good days than bad which is a massive improvement from where we were a few months ago.  He still isn't 100% but everyday getting stronger and able to do more.  Prayer would be appreciated as he continues to heals and slowly gets back to working full-time and back into the ministry.  Thank you for all those that have been praying for Matthew during these last six months.  They have not been easy but our great Father in Heaven has been with us every step and lifting us up in those down moments.  I'll be sure to update you when we have the next appointment in a few weeks time.

Sunday, 8 January 2012

2011: A Year in Review

First off I am very sorry for the lack of posting this year.  There were many times I thought about posting something but got busy doing something else and never got around to doing it!  I will try much harder this coming year to post more about our lives here in England but moving on to the main reason for this post...

2011...another year has come and gone!  How quickly time seems to pass.  Here is our year in review...

January 2011
*Began working full-time as Year 4 Teacher in a maternity position
*Matthew finished exams and interviews to be ordained into the Presbyterian Church
*Our old car died so we had to get a new car.  Matthew kindly got an automatic car so I could learn to drive more easily over here....he does miss having a manual though!

February 2011
On the 5th of February Matthew was ordained into the ministry and joined the Evangelical Presbyterian Church of England and Wales.  This was a very special day and one that we will always remember.  We are now officially Rev. and Mrs. Matthew Jolley.

March 2011
*I applied, interviewed and was offered a full-time teaching position at my current school. 
*Matthew got contacts/Kristen dyed her hair red

April 2011
April brought Easter break and a few travelling opportunities with it. 
*Travelled to Cadbury World to see how the company got started and operates today.  Lots of chocolate was sampled during this visit!
*Kentwell Hall
*Wimpole Estate

The highlight of this month was the Royal Wedding.  It was a Bank Holiday which meant no school.  We had a few people over to watch the wedding and partake in a Tea Party!  It was a fun day and an occasion I won’t be forgetting soon!

May 2011
*Kristen began driving lessons and took her road theory exam
*Kristen took practical exams for Biology, Chemistry and Physics test
*Matthew prepared final details for mission trip of Americans coming to England
*Visited Framlingham Castle

*School Trip to the New Olympic Village with my Year 4 students

June 2011
June was the busiest month of the whole year...where to even begin. 
*31 students arrived from America for a mission trip in Bury St Edmunds
*Matthew turned 30!!

*Celebrated our 5th wedding anniversary
*I took my big science exam - managed to get a B.
*We moved house.  J  Finally have parking and yard for the dog!  And an awesome kitchen!! 

My awesome new kitchen!!

July 2011
 *Got my English driving license!  I passed my test!!  :)

*Had a lovely visit with Matthew’s cousin Phil and family
*Holiday (vacation) to Dorset with Matt’s mum, Pat
*First two A&E visits for Matthew with flu with an irregular heartbeat

August 2011
*Highlight of the Year: my parents came for a visit.  Things we saw: Riverboat cruise, Orford Castle, Burghley House, Peterborough Cathedral, Lavenham, Cambridge, Canterbury.

*Visit to Dover Castle
*Visit to Leeds Castle

*I got a chance to visit family and friends in Indiana.  Always a good time!!

September 2011
*Florida to see my friend Amanda (my maid of honor) get married on the beach!
*Start my new teaching job as a Year 3 teacher
*Matthew falls even more ill and spend one week in the hospital.  Get the diagnosis of myrocarditis.  The flu from July went to his heart causing damage around the muscle tissue of the heart.

This was the hardest and worst month of the whole year.  I was working full-time in a new job and Matthew was really unwell...bed rest for most of the days during the whole month! 

October 2011
*With increase in medication Matthew begins to feel better but still not working and doing great
*Visit with Matt’s mum and sister, Pat and Ruth

November 2011
 *Matthew’s health remains about the same still not working and mostly resting at home
*Church Thanksgiving dinner

December 2011
*Another increase to his medicine and Matthew begins to show signs of recovery.  Begins working again.
*Kristen visits Ruth in London - Hyde Park Christmas Market and Wizard of Oz
*Lovely Christmas and New Year’s with Matt’s mum and sister

Mattthew and I got to visit some lovely places over the course of the year and had some great time with family and friends both in the UK and US.  September and onward have been hard months with Matthew battling an illness but as we enter 2012 things are looking up.  God has graciously seen us through a difficult time and it is He who strengthens us.  Matthew is on the road to recovery and feeling better everyday.  Hopefully his full strength will return soon and he will be able to get on with things that he hasn't been able to for the past four months.  This was our 2011...looking forward to the things 2012 brings!